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Tweeting disability charities speed-debate at party conferences
Monday 14 September 2009
Disability charities Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap and the MS Society are moving away from the traditional political party conference fringe event this year by organising a ‘speed-debating' event on adult social care. The charity trio are holding the innovative events which will also incorporate Twitter at the upcoming party conferences in a bid to seek cross-party views from MPs on social care reform.
Minister for Social Care, Phil Hope MP will be involved in the interactive debate at the Labour Party Conference as will shadow Health Minister Greg Mulholland MP at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference.
The charity trio will facilitate a series of 10 minute break-out sessions encouraging participants to discuss the broad question 'how would you change social care for working age disabled people?'. This question is posed in light of the fact that the government did not clearly set out how services for people with a disability will be improved in the social care green paper ‘Shaping the Future of Care Together' which was published in July this year.
Throughout the debate the charities will use social networking site Twitter to tweet questions and encourage live online debate, providing an opportunity for those not attending the conferences to make a live contribution to the debate.
The feedback from the events will play a vital role in contributing to the individual charities' consultation responses to the green paper.
John Knight, Leonard Cheshire Disability Director of Policy and Campaigns, said: "Social care reform is urgently required. Disabled people around the country are not getting the care and support they need. These fringe events will give everyone a chance to have their voices heard by the people who will ultimately be deciding what happens to social care in the future."
David Congdon, Head of Campaigns and Policy at learning disability charity Mencap, whose team recently launched the social care campaign ‘Don't cut us out', said: "People with a learning disability and their families and carers are having vital services cut which is having a devastating impact on their lives. We hope our engaging and interactive event will inspire real debate on how we can repair our faltering social care system, so people with a disability get the support they need to live full, independent and active lives."
MS Society Head of Policy and Campaigns, Daniel Berry, said: "This is a unique opportunity for disabled people to talk directly with senior decision makers from all three parties about what they want to see from social care reforms.
"We need to show MPs and councillors how important social care is to the millions of people living with a disability and why the current and next government must make major reforms to the care system a top priority."
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For more information please contact Lucy Hannagan in Mencap's media office on, 020 7696 6017 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
Notes to editors
Richard Reeves, chief executive of Demos, will be chairing the charities' speed-debating fringe events at the Liberal Democrat and Labour party conferences. Jamie Bartlett, Senior Researcher at Demos, will chair the event at the Conservative Party Conference. http://www.demos.co.uk/
- Leonard Cheshire Disability supports over 21,000 disabled people in the UK and works in 52 countries. We campaign for change and provide innovative services that give disabled people the opportunity to live life their way. Visit http://www.lcdisability.org/
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers. People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want. http://www.mencap.org.uk/
- The MS Society is the UK's largest charity dedicated to supporting everyone whose life is touched by multiple sclerosis (MS), providing respite care, an award-winning freephone helpline (0808 800 8000), specialist MS nurses and funding more than 80 vital MS research projects in the UK. http://www.mssociety.org.uk/